Loss was changing me, but it felt like I was drifting away from everything I once was. When I went to Hawaii many years ago I was warned about kayaking alone. He said every now and then the currents change and it takes a kayak out beyond the island. The kayaker irretrievably drifts out to sea.

Benjamin June 9 Adrift in a worldMatt had just died. Thirteen years clinging to land, to hope, had dissipated. I sat on the beach at sunset knowing what it was like to be slipping away. Every day was another day of distance. I had spent the last year of Matt’s life by his side practically 24/7. I sat alone on sand slipping away from all I held dear.

Life changes. Nothing has changed my life more than loss. Love changes. When the ones I love died I had to learn how to love in a new way with a worn and tattered heart. I lived in pieces and foreign places no longer tethered to the heartbeat of another. Their heart had stopped, but the pulse kept beating. I had to follow the beat of a different heart- mine.

And I changed. For years I was adrift. It felt like I had slipped away from the world around me. Idle conversation slipped away. Holidays drifted beyond my grasp. Birthdays went uncelebrated and faded into just another day.

I tried to keep up with what I used to be for a while, but ultimately I succumbed to the inevitable. I was not the same. It was not the same. Loss changed life. Life changed love. And love changed me.

I hurt in the resistance to change. I feared that if I truly let go into the depths of my sorrow I would never return. I was afraid I would simply slip away into isolation. I was frightened on one level by my lack of interest in the adhesive elements of human interaction. Everything felt so hollow, especially me. I was afraid the currents of life had taken me too far from life and would forever be adrift in a world I could no longer reach.

Benjamin June 9 Adrift KayakI didn’t want to be alone, but I couldn’t be who I was in a world that still was. I was alone in a world that had not change while in my world there was nothing but change.

What I had to do was let go what was into what is. I did not conquer my fear of change. I leaned into the fear; the paralyzing notion that if I let go into everything I would slip away forever, never to return. I had to be willing to accept the possibility of all possibilities. I did not know what I was to turn into when I let go and turned inward.

I have changed. I continue to change. Recently there have been monumental shifts within me. I have come once again to a deeper relating to love and life. When this occurs I need a lot of alone time to assimilate what shifts within me. My equilibrium shifts in the world around me. It takes a lot of stillness and reflection to realign to the world around me.

However, in the back of my mind there is this notion that if I truly am who I am, if I truly follow my truth, my path, that path won’t fit in the world around me. I will have to change and it will further isolate me from a world that wants me to be a certain way. The world wants me to fit their paradigm and I just don’t fit. The world wants me to be the same, just different. Life, my life, doesn’t work that way.

The last year of Matt’s life I was given a leave of absence from work and we spent the days living what was left. Every morning we would venture out of the house to a fast food place (I simply can’t bring myself to call it a restaurant).

Benjamin June 9 AdriftThere were two steps on our front porch. At the beginning of our last year he could navigate the steps on his own. Then, there came a day when he had to hold my arm to steady himself on our way to daily adventure. The day came when I would roll the wheelchair across the steps. Finally, we took no more steps.

Change changed everything. He was slipping away from me. I was following as close as I could. We drifted away from the world around us and when he died, I was left to drift where I was left.

I didn’t know if I was going to make it back. In reality, I didn’t. There was no going back. I had to go forward. I had drifted too far to go back to who I was. I had to find a different shore. I had to let go of the notion I would ever be the same. The illusion of my return dissolved.

The world around me wanted me to return to it. To them, time would heal me and I would once again be the person I was. They didn’t want me to change. They wanted me to come back to my “old self,” but there was no old self to return to; I had changed.

I realized my greatest fear of slipping away was partially true. I was drifting away from who I was. But, I was being drawn into who I am. When I let go I felt the gravitational pull of love to go deeper into the realness of my sorrow and emerge in the authenticity of my life. I needed to let go of everything to find everything that mattered.

Benjamin June 9 ReturnI no longer resist change because I’m afraid it will take me places I don’t want to go. I have gone through so much loss in life and I looked at change as more loss, not less. But it is just the opposite. Change draws me deeper into more, not less.

Letting go of both my expectations and others has given me a chance to follow change into the ever unfolding of healing. I did not come into this life just to hurt. I can here to heal. And for me, that is letting the hurt take me to healing, to change, to love.




Benjamin June 9 Slipping away

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